I ride an Emory shuttle from North DeKalb Mall to main campus each day, and in September I heard a woman sitting across from another mention that the woman’s shoelace was untied. With her lap full of school books she looked down sadly, knowing that there was no way to get to that shoe. The first woman quietly leaned across the bus and tied it for her. Welcome to a new day.
Then early in October at the 8:00 a.m. service I was privileged to watch young Andrew Byron as he walked a new acolyte, Gabi Paulding, through the paces of serving at St. Matthew’s. The Paulding family are newcomers at St. Matthew’s and along with a reusable tote, bread, pen and some printed materials, Andrew demonstrated another wonderful way to extend a welcome.
Last summer Mara DiGiovanni was sitting near someone new not simply to St. Matthew’s but also to an Episcopal liturgy. The visitor was having a heck of a time keeping up, and I watched Mara quietly open to the correct page in the right book and ease it into the visitor’s hand.
I dropped in to youth group one Sunday evening recently – how great to see some of our youth inviting their friends to young fellowship at St. Matthew’s. It’s so exciting to plan to welcome our new rector, and to think through all the treasures of our church and our community that we have to share. Mother Debbie has commended our parish several times about how warmly we welcomed her, and she’s been a faithful leader showing multiple ways for us to welcome newcomers.
So look around you, find that loose shoelace, and let’s make this a season of welcome.